A Melbourne City Council has announced a plan to introduce a separate waste disposal charge, sparking outrage from residents.
A Melbourne council has flagged a controversial plan to introduce a separate waste tax for residents, despite a similar waste tax being abolished years ago.
In the Yarra City Council’s Draft Budget 2022-23, it noted that it would “examine the possible introduction of a separate waste levy”.
Most councils in Victoria already have separate waste levies, but Yarra is one of eight that don’t, as the cost of waste disposal is already embedded in council rates.
In the draft budget, the council claimed that waste management costs “have risen significantly” due to increases in the state’s landfill tax.
“A separate waste levy would bring Yarra into line with the vast majority of councils in Victoria and could potentially allow for further investment in its waste collection services to ensure Yarra remains a leader in sustainability,” the draft budget states.
“It will also help the Council to comply with upcoming legal requirements.”
Adam Promnitz, founder of the local group Yarra Residents Collective, labeled the idea “tone deaf.”
“This municipality is not doing the job well enough if they can increase the cost of services for residents,” he told the government Herald Sun†
The Yarra Council has responded to the concerns, saying its sole intention is to explore the options and implications of a separate waste levy, claiming that a decision to introduce such a levy would be taken after public consultation.
The Council will seek official feedback from the community as part of its 2023-24 budget process.
Previous attempts to introduce an increased waste container tax have not gone down well with Yarra Council.
In 2017, a report was published by the Herald Sun found residents faced an additional $247 annual fee to have garbage picked up.
According to the publication, households and businesses in Yarra had to pay an additional $247.50 to collect a standard 120 liter bin, $800 for a 240 liter bin and $164 for an 80 liter bin.
However, the Council states that the introduction of a separate waste levy in the coming budget will not increase the rates for residents.
“If the Council decides to introduce a separate waste tax in the 2023/24 budget, the total amount for the 2023/24 tariff note will NOT change,” the Council said.
“If the Council decided to introduce a separate waste levy, the approach would be to simply separate the waste levies from the general rates, rather than add a waste levy to the general rates.”
The waste levy isn’t the only controversial element of the new draft budget, with the Yarra Council echoing plans to increase the price of children’s swimming lessons.
The draft budget revealed that the cost of a swimming lesson in Yarra will increase from $31.10 to $44.90.
The move sparked outrage from 3AW radio host Tom Elliot, who broke into the Council during the broadcast.
“How can you justify this? Swimming isn’t just a leisure activity, it’s a life skill, and this can stop some parents from teaching their kids swimming,” said Tom Elliott. “It’s downright ridiculous.”
“How can you justify this? Swimming is not just a leisure activity, it is a life skill, and this may prevent some parents from teaching their children swimming lessons,” he said.
“It’s downright ridiculous.”
Councilor Stephen Jolly told Elliot he would vote against the price hike.
“The council is very happy to be talking about public health all the time and encouraging people to be active, but this goes against those principles,” he said.
“I’ve talked to a lot of people in the community who are really annoyed by this. So they go to the council meeting to have their say.”